Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

Summer is ‘officially’ over here in Chamberlain. The new city swimming pool is closed for the year and public school started this week.

Our high school students arrived on Sunday and participated in a two-day orientation program before school began on Wednesday. Our high school volleyball, cross country and football teams all have meets and games this week.

I recently attended the football team’s scrimmage and joined the coaches and players when they came out to St. Joseph’s for a team building meal at the Sheehy Home. It was a great night.

You may recall that I recently mentioned our 4-6 grade students can participate in football with the local team. They had their first practice on Tuesday evening. Our students were very excited to try on their equipment and hit the field. St. Joseph’s is honored to be able to host the practices and games as a way to help our students get to know their peers from the Chamberlain community better.

On Saturday morning, some of our students participated in the Chamberlain Youth Triathlon. They were able to swim, bike and run—all on campus. It was a fun experience for all!

A boy dances during St. Joseph's Annual Powwow.

Our Lakota (Sioux) students enjoy learning about their Native American culture and participating in our annual powwow.

We were scheduled to have an inipisweat lodge—  with our 7-8 grade boys on Saturday afternoon, but the high wind made it too dangerous to have a fire.

Please keep the members of the American Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in your prayers this week. Since our former Provincial, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, was elected to our General Council in Rome, we are gathering this week to elect a new Provincial and Council. May the Holy Spirit guide our deliberations.

Our students are getting ready for our 39th Annual Powwow on September 19. They have several dance practices scheduled and staff members have been meeting to talk over plans to ensure another successful event. We have even started praying for good weather! We hope you will be able to attend. If you have any questions about the three day event, please feel free to call 1-800-584-9200 or visit www.stjo.org/powwow.

Have a great Thursday. May God’s blessings continue to be with you and yours.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

Claire, Librarian

Claire, Librarian

Hello! My name is Claire, and I am the new Librarian at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I am fortunate that I get to work with two of my favorite things every day—the kids at St. Joseph’s and books. We are in the process of updating the library to an automated catalog system, so I spent the summer barcoding, weeding and organizing the collection. I also got to open the boxes of book donations, which was just like Christmas.

“Whoopee! Dragons! Pirates! Polar bears! Newberry Medalists! Sherman Alexie! The kids are just going to love this!!”

I was excited and nervous for the first week of school. Although I worked in a library as a college student, this was my first gig as a school librarian, actually teaching library skills. Also, the previous librarian, a veteran of 39 years, left some really big shoes to fill. She had a great way with the kids, and a knack for helping them to find just the right book. The kids were not sure what to make of me, with my strange new rules and quirks. I gave out a pre-test to assess where their skill levels were, prompting cries of distress. “Library reeks!!”

Connecting the kids with books was definitely the fun part. While battered copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Goosebumps” flew off the shelves, other interests took some sleuthing. Scary stories were a popular request—everything from ghost stories to movie monsters to tales of Bigfoot.

Two Lakota students sit on the ground reading a book.

Two students enjoy reading a book together.

Many kids asked for books about basketball—basketball teams, basketball players and stories about kids who play basketball. I loved it when kids asked for books about history and we got to talk about historical fiction versus non-fiction and the different time periods and populations. Animal books were another common request. I was very happy to show one young man a brand new encyclopedia of animals we had just received as a donation. It was an impressive volume with a bright picture of a Mandrill on the cover. His eyes lit up and he paged through the color pages with obvious delight.

Another teen had been waiting all summer for the next book in the “Warrior” series. (A shout out to the generous donors who replaced several missing copies from this series—you are lifesavers!) And finally, I was able to help Mr. Library Reeks discover the “I Survived” series. He gleefully capered about, barely able to decide which two books to take now and which to save for next week.

I grew up in a home filled with books. Unfortunately, many of the kids at St. Joseph’s don’t have a lot of books in their homes and don’t have access to a library over the summer. The school library is their best chance for getting good reading material. My hope is to share some favorite books with them and to guide them in finding favorites of their own. Having an automated system will make it even faster and easier to find just the right book. In the meantime, we’ll work on our library detective skills to discover what treasures lie in store. I am looking forward to it!

I would like to thank our donors for providing good things to read for both our library and our bookmobile . You make such a big difference!   Wopila tankamany thanks!

Claire, Librarian

Mike, St. Joseph's President

Mike, St. Joseph’s President

Time and time again, it has been shown that it is the little things we do every day at St. Joseph’s that have the greatest impact on our students.

Here’s a simple, yet wonderful example.

Today is the fourth day of school for our 1-8 grade Lakota students. After driving across campus, I parked in a spot next to the playground. As I looked over, I noticed that the first grade students were taking advantage of the playground and the sunny weather. In the center of the playground I spotted Abby, our first grade teacher, twirling around on the merry-go-round with one of her students. Both had big smiles.

I commented, “Now that is real learning!”

Abby laughed and replied, “It is good exercise.”

In that simple moment on the playground, I was bolstered in one of the most basic tenets that I have come to know over the years—the understanding that our staff are truly dedicated to the mission of our organization. Each and every day our staff ‘go that extra mile’ to make our students feel safe, welcomed and loved at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The second tenant—we are truly blessed by the support we receive—is bolstered every time I take a few moments to remember how fortunate we are to have many people who provide St. Joseph’s with prayers, encouragement and resources. One of the reflections we try to ask ourselves regularly is “What would our supporters think about this?”

While our supporters provide us with resources, it is our staff who are the ‘hands and feet’ of the mission.

In the case of Abby and her 1st grade student on the merry-go-round, I have to believe that a supporter would smile, knowing that Abby’s actions made this child feel special and loved.

Two young girls play on the playground

Our staff go above and beyond to make sure our students feel safe and loved.

Our staff perform many similar supportive actions every day here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Though they are not mentioned in this blog, they are truly part of the cumulative effort to develop meaningful relationships with the children we serve.

To those who support our efforts here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, we strive to make our mission a reality to our Native American students and their families each and every day. Please know that we truly appreciate your support, thoughts and generosity.

You are an integral part of our mission.

THEY’RE BACK!!

St. Joseph’s school year is off to a flying start! The beginning of the year theme is ‘Soar to New Heights’ and each student was given a glider airplane to stress the point.

After final calculation, this year’s enrollment is 218. We have 54 students enrolled in our High School Program and the remainder attend school on St. Joseph’s campus in grades 1-8.

On Sunday, our Family and Student Engagement Team hosted a ‘welcome back picnic’ for our students and their families. Over 300 hot dogs were grilled and passed out as families arrived on campus.

During all staff orientation, we held a prayer service that had a special twist.  Instead of just offering prayer and song, the prayer became a two or three day effort to visit five prayer spots set up around campus.

Two girls hug on the playground

Making new friends is one of the best parts of the new school year!

At one station, there was a Prayer Labyrinth. The Labyrinth gave staff an opportunity where they could slow down, walk and count their blessings, let go of distractions, listen for an insight, wisdom or gift of the Spirit, resolve an issue or even find new strength to fulfill responsibilities.

Another station gave you an opportunity to select up to three Lakota students to “Mantle” during the upcoming year.  This is a commitment of at least three intercessions per week for each child: prayer, a random act of kindness, lighting a candle or offering a message of encouragement.  Aside from signing the child’s name on a poster that decorates the school hallway, everything is done in secret.

A third station allowed each staff member to write a prayer and stick it on a poster board that is hung in a location where our students can see.

A fourth station offered the opportunity to make a Lakota prayer tie while listening to a Lakota ceremonial song.  The prayer ties will be used by the students during the year at their traditional ceremonies.

The last station dealt with forgiveness. This station urged reflection on a past hurt or painful memory. Staff were asked to write down a word or phrase that expressed the desire to forgive or be forgiven and then place their paper in water and watch it dissolve.

The prayer stations were a wonderful way to center ourselves for the start of the school year!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

This coming weekend is our first donor luncheon of the school year. Staff members and two students will be in San Diego, California on August 15 and 16.  Our next luncheon will be in Dallas in early October.  We would love to have you join us! Please visit our website or call us at 1-800-584-9200 for more information.

May God continue to bless you for your support of the Lakota students attending St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Please keep them in your prayers as they begin a new school year.  Go with peace and know the students pray for you daily.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Hello from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Colton gives two thumbs up for the camera.

Colton, HR Intern

My name is Colton, and I am an intern in the Human Resource Department here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. My major is Business Administration and I am specializing in Human Resource Management.

To me, it was a no brainer to intern at St. Joseph’s. The intern position fit perfectly with my major and my family lives in Chamberlain. Growing up, I witnessed the “community within a community” atmosphere at St. Joseph’s and I wanted to experience it for myself. Everyone is so friendly and always has a smile on their face and it is extremely rare to drive by a fellow employee and not get a warm smile and a wave from them. You get a sense of family whenever you work and interact with your co-workers.

All staff members also make sure to do everything they can to give the kids the absolute best place possible to call home during the school year. You don’t even have to question what St. Joseph’s “mission” is… if you ever have an opportunity to visit campus and see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they play and learn, or see the tireless work being completed by the houseparents , grounds crew, etc. There truly is a ‘bigger purpose’ at St. Joseph’s  and I look forward to seeing how it continues to grow in the future.

Two girls create a heart shape with their hands on the playground

Our Lakota (Sioux) children are at the heart of everything we do.

As for my internship, I have gotten the same exact feeling from everyone in the HR department. They let me know if I ever have any questions to not hesitate to ask. They are very accommodating to everything going on in my life. I’ve learned far more than I could ever learn in a classroom setting and I am not even done interning! It has been a great experience thus far and I know that I made the right choice in coming to St. Joseph’s.

I have worked in several different places and by far St. Joseph’s takes the cake. Pilamayathank you—for supporting St. Joseph’s and the mission we all serve.

Colton

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

The buzz of motorcycle traffic heading west for the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is no match for the buzz of campus as staff eagerly anticipate the beginning of the school year on August 10!

Excitement is growing as we begin All Staff Orientation Week. Around St. Joseph’s campus, this is a time of great anticipation. The orientation process gives new and veteran staff the chance to get to know one another, share insights and ask/answer questions. On Wednesday, all staff will come together for our traditional beginning of the year kickoff. We will begin the day with a prayer service in the Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel and culminate with lunch and an all-staff meeting.

The last of our student applications are being processed. It looks like we will start with over 200 students again this year. We eagerly anticipate their arrival this upcoming Sunday!

A female student works on her homework assignment.

Our Lakota (Sioux) Students start school at St. Joseph’s on Monday, August 10!

We are also getting ready to host our next donor luncheon in San Diego, California on August 15 and 16. Iyung and Haille are looking forward to the trip and would enjoy the opportunity to meet you if you are in the area. Please call 1-800-584-9200 for more information or to reserve your spot. . If you are not able to join us in San Diego, our next luncheon is in Dallas, Texas on October 3 and 4.

Since St. Joseph’s Indian School starts classes a few weeks ahead of our local public school, our high school students will enjoy a few more days of summer vacation. The high school students who participate in golf, football, volleyball and cross country will arrive this weekend to participate in preseason practices, while the remainder will return to campus for orientation on August 24 and 25. Classes at the public high school begin August 26. We are excited about a new program for our seniors geared toward preparing them for college through an independent lifestyle program. I will keep you informed on this program as it unfolds.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we prepare for the arrival of our Native American students. Your support allows us to collaborate with one another to offer our students and their families the best programs possible! Pilamayathank you.

May God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity. We keep you in our prayers.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

Hi, my name is Bob. My wife Angela and I are high school houseparents here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, working with girls in grades 9-12. At St. Joseph’s, the high school

Bob, Houseparent

Bob, Houseparent

students live on campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School. They participate in sports, clubs and other extra-curricular activities. It’s a great way to stay involved with the community!

Houseparents normally have summer off. This summer, however, we stayed on campus to work in one of the break homes. But not just any break home… this one was special – the Transitional Living Program for our oldest students.

Two homes were open to offer this opportunity to St. Joseph’s upperclassmen – one for the girls and one for the boys. Each student was ready to see what

a dorm-style, away-from-home lifestyle would be like. It was designed to be much like they will experience in college.

The program had several ground rules:

  • Student had to have a job and provide their own transportation to and from that job.
  • Each student was responsible for their own preparation of meals, laundry and housekeeping.
  • Those who had the privilege of driving St. Joseph’s cars (which most of them did) were responsible for their own gas and oil as needed.
  • Each student could come and go as they chose, provided they let the on-duty staff know where they were going and when they planned to return. They also had to check in by phone from time to time.
  • They had to return by curfew and could not leave the Chamberlain area.
  • Sunday morning all students attended church services on campus. If they were working, they attended Mass elsewhere during a time they were not working.

    St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School.

    At Chamberlain High School, St. Joseph’s students participate in sports, extra-curricular activities and more.

Our eight students had various jobs, both on St. Joseph’s campus and in the Chamberlain community. We had students work in the restaurant field, at a car dealership and at a hotel.

After the six-week program concluded, the students went home to finish their summer vacation and spend some time with their families. Hopefully, they went with a better understanding of work ethic and independence that will help them in the future.

We had a great group of students and really enjoyed spending some of their summer with them. We saw some real life changes in this group of wonderful, mature, young adults and hope the experience will impact their future in a positive way.

Thank you for the support you give St. Joseph’s Indian School to make these opportunities possible for the Lakota students!

Bob, Houseparent

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